In this chapter of the book, we intend to use a time machine from prehistoric times to reach the world of flying machines, and in the meantime, take a look at the various aspects of Google’s new and important algorithm, the Mobile First Index.
Before introducing the Mobile First Index algorithm, it is better to ask yourself a question:
Look around you, what do you think made the human way of life different from the man of the 21st century earth to sky in the first few million years?
The answer to this question can be summarized in changing human behavior. In fact, wherever you go, you see traces of change, so that even your own beliefs as a teenager are very different from now.
It is interesting to know that human behavior in the world of the Internet has not been constant and has undergone many small and large changes. One of these important changes is the desire to use mobile devices. If you look closely, you will find that in the past, web users used to surf the Internet mostly on their home computers.
But it didn’t take long for this behavior to take on a new form, with giant, heavy-duty monitors replacing mobile phones that could be carried anywhere. But this change in behavior posed a major challenge for users when visiting sites:
The sites were designed to be displayed on the desktop, and when users browse these un optimized sites via mobile, they leave immediately with an awful user experience. There was a big vacuum in the meantime:
How should mobile users use computer-generated sites?
Since user satisfaction should be the first and most important goal of sites, there was a need for sites to change their behavior and be able to move in line with user behavior. As always, it was Google that updated the structure of its algorithms to prepare for the change, building an algorithm that focused solely on mobile users and their satisfaction.
In fact, the Mobile First Index algorithm was Google’s answer to changing users’ behavior when using mobile instead of desktop.
But before we tell you how to increase your SEO success rate using these rules, we need to introduce you to 3 key and important issues:
- Why does Google value mobile users so much?
- What exactly is the Mobile First Index algorithm?
- What sites are affected by this algorithm?
We have a special offer for you before reading this article. In this video, the Mobile First Index algorithm and all related topics are introduced to you in detail. As a result, if you do not have enough time to read the article carefully, we suggest you watch this 6-minute video.
Why is Google so important to mobile search?
According to the latest reports in 2016, more than 55% of Internet searches are done via mobile. In some areas, this can be as high as 85 percent.
With the growing number of mobile users, Google decided to optimize its Internet search service for mobile phones to:
When a user searches the Internet with their mobile phone, only sites that are optimized for the mobile version are shown.
In fact, it can be concluded that Google released the Mobile First Index algorithm so that mobile users can enjoy browsing the Internet by visiting sites optimized for mobile.
What exactly is the Mobile First Index algorithm?
In the past, when users searched the Internet, the desktop version of your site was Google’s main benchmark for ranking, but with the advent of mobile phones and their popularity, Google also decided to change its ranking algorithm to the mobile version. Prioritize websites.
This change was the same Mobile First Index algorithm that was activated for all sites from the beginning of 2018; This means that Google’s first priority for ranking sites is the mobile version, and the second priority is the desktop version; That is the exact opposite of what we saw before the introduction of this algorithm.
Which sites are affected by Google’s new mobile algorithm?
Although Google First Mobile algorithm is currently enabled on all sites, the effect of this algorithm is not the same for everyone. With the introduction of the new algorithm, sites can be divided into 4 groups:
1- Sites whose mobile and desktop versions are the same
If your mobile and desktop versions are the same, then Google Analytics will not change the content of your pages. After activating this algorithm, Google will give points to your site just like before (ie from your desktop version).
In addition, you should keep in mind that the non-responsiveness of your site in terms of SEO is a negative point and Google does not give your site a good rating due to this shortcoming. Varzesh3 is an example of a non-responsive website that has the same mobile and desktop versions.
2- Responsive sites
The Mobile First Index algorithm does not change Google’s understanding of the content of responsive sites, as the content of these pages is the same in the mobile and desktop versions, and only the way it is displayed is different. (Like Zomit site)
Here we must mention an important point; If your site is responsive but does not have the same content on both mobile and desktop versions, meaning that a significant portion of the content on mobile is hidden using CSS, the site may change position after applying the mobile first algorithm.
We will try to explain this concept to you with an example. Suppose you have a page on the desktop version of your site called Free SEO Training. This page has a good ranking in Google in the phrase “free SEO training”, but when the user enters the page with a mobile phone, parts of its content are hidden or not available. When Google examines this page with its new algorithm, it does not realize the importance of this content on the page, and your position in the search results may change.
3- Sites that have a separate design and address for the mobile version
If you log in to Facebook using your mobile phone, you will see that the URL of this site changes to m.facebook.com in your browser. In this case, we say that the desktop and mobile versions of your site have two separate addresses. But how does Google’s new algorithm feel about this?
In this case, Google analyzes only the content that exists in the separate mobile address. Therefore, it can be said that after applying the mobile algorithm, sites that use two different addresses for their mobile and desktop versions will be placed under Google’s magnifying glass more than the previous two cases.
4- Dynamic serving
In the meantime, there are a number of sites that are not in any of the top categories we have told you about, for example if you log in to sites like Bamilo or Digitala, even though they have the same address for both the mobile and desktop versions. But when you enter these sites from your mobile browser, not only the display but also the HTML code of the page changes, this is called Dynamic Serving.
Until now, the desktop version of sites that use dynamic service was more important, but with the official launch of the Mobile First Index algorithm, Google went to the mobile version of your site from the beginning and analyzed only the content in it. Indexes.
How should we prepare our site for the new Google algorithm?
Now that Google is setting the mobile version of your site as a benchmark, you need to set standards for its implementation. Regardless of which of the above 4 categories your site belongs to, the items we introduce here can be useful for Google to better understand your mobile version.
1- The content, structure of pages and mobile and desktop codes should be the same
The same content of the site in both mobile and desktop versions is a measure that can greatly ease your mind about new Google updates. The same content in the mobile and desktop versions means the following:
- Identity of meta tags such as title and description
- Standard notation and Schema codes are the same on mobile and desktop
- The main content of the page (except the sidebar, footer and header) are the same in both versions
2- Paying attention to the content in the footer and sidebar
As you know, the mobile version of the sites has less space than the desktop due to its smaller size. When you enter a responsive site, sections such as footer and sidebar are removed; So if there is an important link in these sections, they will naturally lose their value after Google focuses on the mobile version.
Make sure that the main content of each page is available and visible in both mobile and desktop versions.
3- Responsive design is better than a separate mobile version
At first glance, you might think that with the value that Google places on mobile, it is better to consider a separate address for mobile. But Google suggests that your top priority is responsive design. The order of Google ratings for each of these methods is as follows:
First priority: Responsive site
Second priority: having a separate version for Mobile
Priority 3: Show the same site on desktop and mobile (this is not recommended at all)
Finally, for larger businesses with more visitors, using the Dynamic Serving technique can be a good choice after the first priority.
Important and unanswered questions about Mobile First Index algorithm
Now that you know the ins and outs of Google’s new algorithm, it’s time to ask some questions that may come your way.
Does Google have a separate index for mobile?
Many people think that Google has an index for desktop and an index for mobile, and when it wants to analyze your site, it uses both; But from now on, the main criterion for evaluating the content of your site will be only the mobile version. So Google has an index, and that index is the mobile version.
How do we know that the mobile indexing algorithm has been activated for our site?
It is interesting to note that unlike the Panda and Penguin algorithms, Google initially enabled its mobile-specific algorithm for only a small number of sites. The gradual release of this update was due to the fact that most sites were not optimized for mobile.
But gradually this algorithm became active for all sites and a message about this update appeared in the Google Search Console tool. Currently (December 2018) this algorithm is activated for all websites.
Does Google set the mobile version as a site ranking criterion?
When it comes to site rankings, the mobile version of your site is more important than the desktop version; But this does not mean that your desktop version is worthless. In some cases (for example, if your site does not have a mobile version) Google will consider your desktop version for ranking. So the importance of the mobile version may change under certain circumstances.
But in general, the mobile version of your site is Google’s top priority for ranking; So if you are in the process of designing a mobile version for your site, you should know that not having a mobile version is better than having a mobile version of your site incomplete.
What if my site does not have a mobile version?
Having or not having a mobile version has no effect on indexing your site content. But having a mobile version is a competitive advantage and will have a great impact on your SEO ranking.
This is because the correct display on mobile and tablet has become an influential factor in ranking results (when the user searches with mobile) and as we said before, more than 55% of searches are done via mobile.
Google pays more attention to mobile in the future with Mobile First Design
For several years, the concept of Mobile First Design has become a trend in site design. In responsive design, first the content of the page is designed in the desktop version and then it is decided how to display it in mobile, but in Mobile First, first the mobile version It is fully designed and parts are added to it in the tablet and desktop versions.
The concept of Mobile First Design originates from the fact that the mobile device needs a separate and exclusive design due to its screen size. So if we want to create a good experience for mobile users, we must also prioritize the mobile version in terms of design.
A wise conclusion!
If you want your site to taste successful on the web, so that it is a good site for Google, you have to go according to the behavior and needs of your users. But do not settle for just that!
Because even your audience’s behavior is changing at an alarming rate. So how much better to have a glimpse of the not-too-distant future; Mobile First Index algorithm will be the first brick of the new web space empire.